This story from 2014 proves that humans aren’t the only ones capable of kindness. Animals are often showing each other kindness and care – just like the precious moment that was captured on the Hillsborough River by a Tampa police officer.
Residents in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood were alerted to noises coming from the river one evening. The next morning, neighbors saw a dog struggling to climb out of the river.
Residents called the Tampa Police Department, and their Marine Patrol unit responded to the call. As they were setting up their equipment for the rescue, Officer Jodie Maxim was the one who took the picture.
The department posted it to their Facebook page where they showed the dog, named White Boy, trying to climb the cement wall while a manatee was by his side, guarding him.
The Facebook post read, “You don’t see that every day, and it’s a great reminder … the importance of kindness.”
The officer who rescued the dog, Randy Lopez, a 30-year veteran of the department’s Marine Patrol Unit, the officer who actually rescued White Boy, and revealed that it was most likely the noise that attracted the manatee.
“They’re curious by nature so I’m sure the sound of the dog splashing in the water trying to get up the sea wall got his attention and he came over to investigate, maybe calm the dog and tell him it was going to be alright,” Lopez said to ABC News.
Lopez commented that White Boy was “clinging” to the wall by his front two paws. Lopez further explained that they had to use an extension ladder from one of the residents to go and grab the dog.
“It probably took about 20 minutes from start to finish,” Lopez described the rescue.
A police department spokeswoman said to ABC News that White Boy’s owners hadn’t realized their dog had gotten out until they happened upon the scene and saw what was going on.
White Boy had suffered bug bites and bloody paws, but other than those injuries he was completely ok.
No one ever knew how long White Boy was in the river, or how long the manatee was with him. But one thing is for sure, he was protecting White Boy.
“Once I got in the water I could see it kind of turned away and gave one good little flutter with its tail and was on its way,” Lopez stated.
There were plenty of comments on social media about the manatee:
One user, Karen Farjeat, wrote, “Kinda looks like an angel!”
“Animals have feelings, too,” commented another user, Alegcy Salgado.